spring fever?

Not a lot of thoughts this week. It was spring break, and it was not quite as awful as it could be. I got sick on Monday, got a random test for tuberculosis, got blood drawn, and basically hung out with my mom all week. But I had to cancel so many plans because I was frankly exhausted and coughing.

But, I was oddly okay with it. I think I needed to spend some time alone with God before I spent time with other people. It was one of those things where God has to work in you before He can really work through you. I spent some time literally on my knees and scrolling through the Bible since we’ve talked last. Prayers went up, and no clear responses have come down. Well, they have. If I pick them apart.

First, I had a conversation today which I’ve been waiting to have for six whole weeks. Six weeks of confusion and hurt led up to this conversation, and I honestly think it was a bit relieving but also painfully caustic. I’m going to be honest, and raw, and vulnerable, even though I know you will read this. It hurt me. It hurt a deep part of me to support someone I value so much in doing something I see as so wrong. I didn’t want to understand. I didn’t want to hear how it could be paralleled with my life. I didn’t want to hear how it may be new and confusing to me. But I sat there. I read every word, and I responded with grace and genuine love. As a follower of Christ, I am called to flee. But, I am called to give grace while doing so. And I think today’s balance was higher on the grace side than the truth side. I stated I was proud of the courage. I said I was appreciative of friendship. I apologized if I made it hard. But inside, I was torn. Because I wanted to quote scripture. I wanted to tell her why I disagreed. I wanted to share what God had to say. I wanted to ask who God meant to her. I wanted to ask questions. But I didn’t. I tried to be supportive. I failed in a lot of ways. Even so, God answered my prayer for this conversation to happen. It happened, and it’s over, and no one’s mad.

Secondly, an area of struggle has been revealed. I’m not sure if I ever wrote this or not, but I heard something along the lines of this said: “If God talks to you and calls you to something, and you don’t respond, He’s probably going to stop talking to you.” And it makes sense. If you had a friend who completely stopped listening to you, wouldn’t you soon give up using your words after a while? Or if you asked someone to do a favor for you, and they do an awful job, wouldn’t you make a mental note not to ask them for anything for as long as you can remember? I would. But would God? And this is a question I’m stuck on. Probably my highest high with God so far occurred over the summer after my sophomore year of high school. I was on a mission trip in Tucson, Arizona, and I felt a strong, no, rather a compelling and fervid notion inside of me to step up and lead the Fellowship of Christian Athletes at my school. In that moment, I knew it was God. I knew I had been called. And I totally had every intention of responding. Every intention of responding negatively and not doing anything. It’s exactly what I did because I fear public speech. I fear vulnerability. I dread waking up thirty minutes early. I said I didn’t have enough time. I made endless excuses. I told God I was like Moses. Even still, I felt like I should still be involved. Well, long story short, I didn’t do anything, and I still haven’t done anything. And I carry guilt from doing so. Condemnatory guilt. Secondly, another time I responded to God’s prompting to pray for someone, I thereafter discovered some flee-able flaws in this person. And I was scared. Even so, I reached out. And to this day, this person hasn’t answered. I honestly feel like God’s given up talking to me until I honestly will give anything to follow Him. Including fears, comfort, security. And I’m fearing the first thing I will be called to give up will be my dream college, but at the same time, I don’t think so. But I’m not really scared. And I want God to speak to me. But overwhelming guilt tells me I am unworthy because of past failures. I know it doesn’t line up with God’s words. But honestly, it’s really easy for me to believe. Even so, I’m thankful because after asking for God to speak to me, I’m realizing we might have to work through some other things first.

My favorite person in the world is hurting right now. Boys, treat your ladies well. Be decisive. Be honest. And pray. A lot. Especially if you’re going to make a decision to end a relationship. You also don’t need to say everything coming to mind if it’s only going to hurt the other person. So. Yeah. If anyone else’s heart is heavy, here’s a list of slow, deep, Christian worship songs. [Love Me, JJ Heller; Broken Vessels, HillSong; Worn, Tenth Avenue North; Beautiful, Shawn McDonald; Just Be Held, Tenth Avenue North; Blessings, Laura Story; I will be Here, Steven Curtis Chapman.] There will probably be more. Anyways, this was another answer to prayer. I’ve missed seeing her everyday. I’ve missed the rants. I’ve missed the laughs. I’ve missed the random adventures. We did the thing last night. The thing where you get in a car and flip a coin to determine left or right turns. We didn’t even get lost on the way home, and, as a bonus, we didn’t hit any turtles or possums this time. But yeah. A lot of time has been spent rooting ourselves deeper in Christ together. Individually, but intertwining certain roots which will become one, allowing each to simultaneously return the other to where they belong: in His arms. I’ve never met someone who I can so easily relate to in every aspect. I never had a role model who happens to be a sister. I’ve never trusted someone so much with every detail in my life. I’ve never had someone trust me with every aspect of their life. But she’s essentially my sister. And I guess those kind of things happen when you’re family.

Overwhelmed was also a big word these past few days. The first day I went to be around people after five days in solitary confinement was chaos. Voices, shouting from every direction. Every angle, every pitch, all blurring together. Mouths move as eyes look into mine, but words are not recognizable. Each voice fades into the background and I struggle to catch one. Feeling in my legs are gone. I hope my face doesn’t look worried. I intentionally curl up the ends of my mouth. To pick out one voice from the crowd is like searching for a large needle in hay, but without a handy magnet. Movement all around the room makes me dizzy. Amid the noise, children flood the room, wandering every way, playfully chasing each other through the maze of desks, boards, humans, and furniture. Am I still breathing? My teeth grind together, but soreness doesn’t fill my mouth. My head starts pounding. The voices have become white noise and I try to find my mom’s above the others. They explain to me their project; I smile and nod. Finally, fresh air surrounds me. Peace. I sat down and promised myself I would never work with more than five kids at a time. And then signed up to work in the two year old room at church on Easter. Oops.

After a humbling trip to Trinidad and Tobago last summer, I am excited to announce I will be returning to Tucson, Arizona on June 10­-19 to be God’s light in the community along with fifty other high school students. If you would like to read about my trip to Trinidad and Tobago, you can visit http://chapelmissiontrips.org/?cat=14 to read about personal testimonies of the trip, including a miraculous account of a beautiful, broken man (Harraman) I was blessed to visit and pray over in the local hospital (the Thursday entry). I am excited to return to a place in which God has revealed His goodness and love through my peers and trip leaders. Our team will be serving at the church throughout the week by providing services and worship, attending and running a engaging in physical labor, visiting a children’s foster home, and leading the people in the community to the church. I am anxious to see how God will move in the community, in relationship within our team, and my relationship with Him.I want to invite you to join me in preparing for this trip by consistently praying for three thingsᅳour safety while on the trip, for God to prepare our hearts, minds, and hands, and for God to prepare the hearts of the people who will we meet so they will be receptive to His calling in their lives. While there are a large number of students attending the trip, we cannot do it alone. Ephesians 4:12 states “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” I ask you to join me in prayer and financially if you so feel called.

Okay, that’s it for now.


spring fever?

Awaiting to be Filled.

I am in awe. No other words come to mind. The word WOW is pretty prominent, and I also feel humbled.

I had the opportunity to attend a Missional Development Community Seminar on Saturday, and man, it was good. Primarily, the senior pastor at my church spoke on a number of topics all regarding storms in life. First, he shared a passage in Isaiah with us. Isaiah 6:1-8 says

1 In the year [which] King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord, high and exalted, seated on a throne; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphim, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another:

“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty;
    the whole earth is full of his glory.”

At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

“Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips,and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.”

Then one of the seraphim flew to me with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar. With it he touched my mouth and said, “See, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for.”

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”

And I said, “Here am I. Send me!

In King Uzziah’s reign, he brought peace and prosperity to his kingdom and was reliant on God, especially towards the first few years of his authority. When he passed, the nation saw it as a time of despair and proceeded to questions what actions should be taken to fill his empty position. They gathered together to praise God and ask for his guidance, which becomes the context of this passage. As Isaiah writes how he saw the Lord, seated, we realize God has given Isaiah His vantage point of the worship. Here, Isaiah sees Him as a “King-God,” powerfully reigning in His divinity. As the train of His robe fills the temple, it is symbolic of His presence filling the atmosphere, listening to their cries. As the creatures fill the air surrounding, they sing out praise, “filling the temple with smoke.” I imagine Isaiah was terribly afraid. Fearful of God’s power but still trusting His wisdom as he takes this whole scene in. Then, Isaiah verbalizes his overwhelming feelings of unworthiness. Why should he, a sinner, a liar, a human, be given God’s vantage point and sit in His presence when he is covered with sin and resembles brokenness? He cries out, coming to terms with his inside shame, understanding the impact of his sin, and recognizing his guilt caused from inadequacy in the presence of God. Even the mouth he praises God with is sinful, as he realizes he is a “man of unclean lips.” I imagine he feels undeserving and fearful, but also humbled and worthless. Suddenly, one of the creatures brings over a flaming coal. Now more than ever, I imagine he is overcome with fear, thinking the worst possible outcomes. But yet, his sin is taken away. First, he saw the greatness of God, but now the greatness of God is in his own life. He is probably overwhelmed as he first saw God, his creator, and sovereign father, but now, he is overwhelmed because God sees HIM. And He loves him, regardless of his sins. When the Lord prompts for a bold leader, Isaiah now volunteers. Isaiah was only in the presence of the Lord for a short time, but already, his fear, inadequacy, and despair has been replaces with overwhelming boldness and doubtless conviction to respond to God’s calling.

Experiencing God changes everything. It changes our calling, our thoughts, our perception of Him, and our feelings. Experiencing God is the difference from knowing ABOUT Him to actually knowing Him. And it’s something I struggle with. Like Bob Goff, I don’t even remember God audibly speaking to me. Chris Rice wrote a song called “Smell the Color 9,” illustrating how distant God sometimes seems. The lyrics And I’ve never heard the calling; But somehow You’ve lead me right here seem pretty applicable in my life. A place really present right now is college. I’m going to verbalize this, but I honestly don’t want to let you know I’m doubting. I’m afraid the college plan I have currently isn’t the plan God wants for me. I’m afraid occupational therapy is wrong. I’m afraid I am not listening enough. I’m afraid because there’s not enough confirmation from Him to ease my nerves. It seems too comfortable. I got in the the accelerated program. I got X × 10,000 in scholarships, per year. I have three roommates. It’s on a lake. There’s tunnels. It’s a Christian school. The professors are nice. The people are nice. There’s an included mission trip. I’m trying to decide whether God is blessing me immensely or wondering if I’m willing enough to sacrifice everything I named and follow His plan. Because a while back, some other college called an told me I was accepted, except for I never applied. Only, their programs are more ministry related and tuition is less. GAH. I just want confirmation. A small yes, just something. Maybe I’m just making a big deal out of nada, but yeah. 

Again, back to the Missional Development Community thing, our pastor continued to talk about our stances towards God.

The God Honoring Approach: analytical (logic, reason, completely planned); walking WITH God by studying the Bible, praying intentional prayers, and living out principles of God; increasingly fundamentalism; leads to knowing about God more than actually knowing God. Downsides include rigidness and a seemingly distant relationship.

The God Led Approach: intuitive (instinct, perception, feeling); walking WITH God by seeking words from God in the moment, prayer acting as a conversation, and having God direct your path in life; increasingly pentecostal; leads to knowing God’s character. Downsides include lack of discipline and a very out of control life.

So which one is right?

Actually, neither one alone is right. Both are right. Imagine flying a plane with only one wing – not so great, right? Or try working out one arm for a whole year, completely ignoring the other. Living either one of these approaches isn’t going to work out so well. Instead, why not routinely read the Bible, but WITH God, listening for His voice? Why can’t we pray, asking God what to pray for? Why can’t we live out God, and ask Him to direct your path? So often, we only pursue one approach, leaving the other ignored, and if you’re anything like me, the God Honoring Approach comes naturally. In fact, I believe it represents the lifestyle of someone who is living FOR God. So how do we learn to adapt the God led approach? Learning five attitudes is somewhere we can start. Invitations, Openness, Discernment, Humility, and Risk. By invitations, I mean allowing God to be present in all areas of your life, even the places and spaces which are uncomfortable or “dirty.” Openness to His calling, as He is always speaking. and responding to His calling. By discernment, we need to test everything we hear. Test it against scripture, with people around you, and listen for God’s confirmation. Humility – life isn’t all about you. Your God moments aren’t always your thoughts. Instead, lets give Him the glory and take on the attitude of a humble servant. And Risks. Risks imply realizing many things might just be God and responding to those things. Maybe it’s finding God’s gifts and plan through every day things, like conversations, nature, or various adventures. Something goes wrong? What if it’s God. Let us adopt those mindsets and strive for a life WITH God. It’s so often to miss God’s hand in the mundane. And by no means have I mastered any of this. Just a disclaimer.

This week for me is spring break, and I’d like to extend the invitation to any of you to take part in some relational things. Whether you want to go out for lunch, go on a run (or walk), or anything, I’d love to spend time creating stronger relationships. So just let me know; my schedule is purposely open.

Also, a very important person in my life is heading out to Africa on a mission trip later this week! I ask you join me in prayer for her safety, for God to prepare her, and for God to be at work within the people she will visit.

Especially this week, I’ve been realizing how much fear is in my life. Fear of basically everything. Fears going deeper than spiders or rodents. Fear of loss. Fear of abuse. Fear of death. Fear of illness. Fear of losing someone. Fear of being inadequate. Fear of missing God completely. Fear of the unknown. Fear of violence. More. These fears prevent me from doing everyday life. I wouldn’t say I’m afraid of the dark, but rather what is in it. I hate going shopping at night. I dislike walking to my car alone. I want to name these fears. I want to have authority over them. Luke 12:5 says “But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear Him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell.” This verse alone brings fear into my life. What if I miss God and cease to live WITH Him for the rest of eternity? What if He never speaks to me? What if those around me don’t realize His power? What if I doubt? 1 John 4:18 says “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.” Currently, I fear the darkness, not my Lord. It’s not like I have questions either. I know the majority of the answers. In order to rid of my fear, my soul needs to love and want God more than anything else. Worldly desires must be put away. Relationships which remove focus must be paused. Distractions coming in the form of technology, activities, to do lists, they must be done away with. But yet, I can’t seem to do so. I want my soul to want God. I want to rely on Him. I want my fear to be vanquished and I want to live in His peace and love. Yet, I haven’t. I type all these words and think all these “good thoughts” but yet, internally, I am as broken as those surrounding me. Fear is holding me back. Distractions are holding me back. But yet, I am thankful. For if they were not to, my pride would continue to increase and increase. Right now, I want to be known for living WITH God. I am as broken as the rest of us, and I need a savior as much as the rest of us. I need to humble myself and appear as weak as I really am. Even though I hate to. I don’t want to be seen as weak. I want to be independent, strong, intelligent, steadfast. In reality, I’m not, and I don’t think I’m okay with proclaiming so yet. I need to fall upon my knees and beg for His mercy. Beg for His peace to cover me. Beg for intimacy in our relationship. Furthermore, distractions must be done away with. If it means removing relationships, deleting Instagram, freeing my schedule, etc., I need to be willing. And now, I find my values long to be places in something steadfast which will fulfill. I’ve been living an empty life for too long.


Awaiting to be Filled.

biblical dissection.

Philippians 4:6-7 amazes me. The substance, the meaning, the truth, the faith, the promise. All of it. I see qualities of a “Daddy-God” throughout, and I honestly could talk write about these verses for hours pages.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Do not be anxious about anything. Yeah, okay whatever. No, seriously, how easy is it for us to cease to be anxious about anything and everything? How easy is it for us to let go and let God take control? Do not be anxious about anything. Like the future; things like college, relationships, work, money, debt, death, the unknown. Or maybe the present; things like school or work, illness, stress, abuses. Maybe even material things, concerning money, like clothes, status, food, shelter, cars. If you’re anything like me, you could probably name a bunch of things which increase your anxiety. Certain people make me anxious. Places even, activities. This world is busy and has focused on temporary fulfillment, and often, we get caught up in the business, chasing after dissatisfying things as we bandwagon with the rest of the world. We forget to calm down, back up, and let God come in. Here, I see God playing the role of planner, of engineer, of a practical mom who color coordinates her calendars for each one of her children, but yet flawlessly, ensuring each child has their activities met and a mode of transportation is all figured out. He has a plan, and it’s better than any agenda we can create. But yet also, I see God playing a role of counselor, of a “Daddy-God” who loves us and picks us up when we cannot continue on amid the storm and chaos of life.

But in every situation, by prayer and petition. In every situation? Wow. Every situation implying days where the waters are calm to days where we fear our boat is about to go under. Days where we know people care and we feel worthwhile, joyous amid easy waters and companionship with other humans. But then there are days where nothing goes right. There are nights where we lie awake, thinking, alone, and dreading the next day. In every situation, Paul tells us to seek God relentlessly. Whether you’re having the time of your life or the complete opposite, His arms are open wide, waiting. By prayer and petition. Prayer. Our communication with God. Our way of speaking what is already known to Him, yet crying out to Him from the insides of our souls. Petition. A humble request. A Humble request. Not one of superiority, claiming you know best. But rather a humble request, begging God to meet you right where you are. In every situation, we are called to prayer, whether it be one of thanksgiving or desperation. Here, I see God encompassing the role of counselor or again, a “Daddy-God.” A paternal figure knows what his children need and tries his best to grant them their wants also. God knows our wants, but He also knows what is best, and He longs to hear us express our wants.

With thanksgiving, present your requests to God. With Thanksgiving. With gratitude for what has already been provided. How often do we thank God for what He has already done in our lives? Personally, I know I am lacking. A select number of days, I know I can’t make it without Him and live in constant fellowship of prayer and thanksgiving, but other days, I honestly disregard His presence and graciousness in my life. How do we pray with thanksgiving in times of hardship? “Thank you for an opportunity to grow” is probably the last thing coming to rest on our minds when panic sets in. But I can honestly say adverse times have stretched me more than easy ones. What if we looked at hardships as a time to actually live out our trust in Him by ceasing to be anxious and thanking Him for this opportunity? Probably easier said than done. Present your requests to God. Present. As in give or cast. Presenting things in school just so happens to be something I dread. I hate speaking. It just so happens we don’t need to create a slideshow and give a 20 minute presentation when we ask God to grant a request. He reads writing, He understands art, He finds joy in music, He knows our thoughts. Whatever your talent be, use it. Get creative. And do so with Thanksgiving. Here, I see God as the overeager “Daddy-God,” wanting to grant your request, but also longing for you to bring it to Him, and say please, not while throwing a tantrum, but expressing genuine joy and gratitude towards Him.

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding. The peace of GOD. Have you ever ventured to a place in nature where you sat or stood alone, reflecting and quietly breathing, not wanting to disrupt the moment? In the fall, me and a friend went on a hike, and we saw five deer as the sun went down over a lake where birds cried out to one another. There, all our worries disappeared. We sat in awe, not needing to talk or move, as we watched the deer’s white tails move back and forth as they followed one another through the woods. It was a moment of peace. I imagine heaven is similar. I imagine we will be still in His presence and overwhelmed by His peace. His peace surpasses understanding. It’s kinda how I wrote how His love doesn’t make any sense at all to me. How He could love me, so broken and empty as I am, just seems illogical according to the world’s standards. Similarly, this peace surpasses our understanding. When we surrender our anxieties and call out to Him, He promises us His peace. And this peace is like anything we can create by ourselves. Here, I see a “Daddy-God” quality of protection. A passionate protection, loving and sheltering His children the best He can.

Will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. How many times do our minds wander off almost unconsciously? How many times do our hearts chase after our own wants? Here, His peace carries the promise of calming both our hearts and minds, leading us back to Christ Jesus. Rather than the almost inevitable, catastrophizing, peace will fill our hearts and minds. Where other people have left holes and bruises in our hearts, they will be covered by peace. Where our minds wander, tripping along the way, His peace will guide us back to the road He has laid out for us. Here, I see a “Daddy-God” character of leading, just as a dad leads his many young children away from troubles but to places where bubbles and fruit snacks are present. Except God is the best leader we can have, better than any earthly counselor or teacher.

Gah. I love these verses.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” 

Take His peace with you.


biblical dissection.

Overwhelming Love.

I’m itching to write. About everything and nothing at all.

In the past few weeks, I’ve successfully isolated myself from many people. And I know I’ve hurt you. I know I let you down. I know I disappointed. I’m sorry for doing so. Right now, I need isolation, the lack of distraction, the lack of people for me to trust in. I am in a process of refocusing, and right now, God is the only one who should be present. Other relationships have been affecting my ability to perceive His instruction and mostly allowing me to rely on other people around me rather than the only one who can actually save my empty soul. So I’m sorry I’ve disappointed you. I hope and pray you understand my motives and especially my temporary lack of presence.

On another topic, I broke my fast a little while ago. I didn’t feel it was making me slow down and take time and the sole reason being it had become a routine.

I’ve been struggling with the whole idea of love recently. God’s love and man’s love are so different, and sometimes it seems impossible to separate God’s love from man’s. As humans, we are constantly exposed to disappointment, broken trust, ingenuity and failure in relationships around us. People disappoint. We’ve come to expect false promises, absence, and even abuse. Abuse of generosity, of time, of intelligence, of talents, of patience. Regardless, do we trust God to not disappoint? Do we trust Him to constantly love us? He sings over us as we sleep. He chose us. He calls us. He gives us opportunities. But yet, why would He love me? Why would He love my brokenness, my emptiness? Why would He listen to my prayers, read my thoughts, count how many hairs are upon my head? And thinking about these questions, I don’t have an answer. It doesn’t make sense how He loves us so much, amid our failure and our doubting. It doesn’t make sense how He gives us purpose. But even so, God is God. And if we understood Him, we wouldn’t need Him. I don’t like the answer. I don’t like it at all. It doesn’t make any sense. Someone, God, made me in HIS image, and LOVED me so much He sent His ONLY SON to DIE for meMe, a sinner, a failure, a bitter soul, who manages to get a few things right once in a while. Me, afraid, doubting, clumsiness and all. Me, one of many humans who inhabit the earth, one in billions, one tiny person in a universe which is beyond my understanding. Me, Alyssa. As humans, we generally love other people for their outward qualities, their dinero, their status or talents. Few relationships go beyond those qualities. Ones which do so are rare and built upon a strong foundation, a cornerstone, a savior, and a common belief. It’s so hard to wrap our minds around the love of God. In fact, it’s essentially impossible.

In society, often we base our love, or rather tolerance, towards others based off of what we get. God, on the complete other hand, loves us despite our failures and shortcomings. He welcomes us with open arms and calls us His sons and daughters. And so many times, we take it for granted. Other things take priority. Relationships, social life, technology. I read a cool devotional talking about the difference between hockey players spending a day with the Stanley Cup and our walk with God. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the winners of the Stanley Cup in the NHL each get one [day] with the cup to do with it as they please. Players in the past have taken it swimming, used it as a giant drinking cup, let their dog eat out of it, baptized their daughter in it, and many other crazy occurrences. The cup is what they play for, and when a player has it for a day, they value it and make a point to spend ungodly amounts of time with it, creating memories and gaining headlines. This cup is priceless to them, although it is only silver and nickel alloy weighing around 15.5 kg. Guys. We have something SO much more meaningful, beautiful, and priceless than a Stanley Cup. We have a savior who LOVES us more than anything else He has created. He isn’t stationary. He isn’t easily dropped or chipped. He isn’t around for just one day. He doesn’t move to the next player, or team, after you have lived WITH Him for a day. Do we value this opportunity as much as NHL players value their Stanley Cup? Guys. He loves you. He wants to hear you. A relationship WITH Him is more than anything in this world can offer. He wants your everything, even if you don’t think it’s sufficient. He calls us to remain in Him.

Almost a week ago, I sat in a circle of seventh grade girls and directed them to take a piece of paper and pen and ask God, what do you love about me? As I looked around, I saw so many talents and beautiful personalities. I wrote down many things in which I knew God was present inside of them. Later, when it was my turn to be a student and answer the question, I found myself writing down things which I like about me, rather than what God likes about me. I wrote down of physical, easy to see things I do, rather than spiritual gifts or maybe even things I am unaware of. I still haven’t gone back. I don’t know exactly why. Maybe it’s been a time issue, maybe its been an overflow of doubts around His love. Maybe I’m unsure as to what an omnipotent God of the universe could love about me. Or maybe it’s been all of the above.

As I began to write down things I thought God would like about me, I came up with a long list of things I thought God wouldn’t like about me. Divided, it happened so ten things resulted in each column. Ten things I think God sees in me paired with ten things I despised about myself. And as I wrote, I realized we all have those lists, don’t we? It’s also really easy to pick things out from the latter category in other people. We see their sin, their shortcomings, and to be honest, it’s sometimes really easy for me to distance myself from people who aren’t good at hiding their darker side. I’m a really critical person. Something I can’t stand about myself is my bitterness. I’m totally a first impression person, and I rarely give people a chance. If I don’t think you like me, I’ll back out. And it’s definitely prevented me from having many relationships with people around me. I want my bitterness to be replaced with love, and for love to take over, for that’s what love does. I fail to realize often I’m a sinner too who is no greater than anyone around me.



Overwhelming Love.